Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Amazing, Unfolding World of Machine Civilization Series VBT

A history beginning in our near future, these stories are set in a world where the US dollar has been displaced as the world’s reserve currency, prompting its economic and political collapse, with a few areas able to hold onto civilization.

At the same time, across the Pacific, under a resurgent economy brought about by the implementation of new technology and deregulation, three Japanese companies produce breakthroughs in both artificial intelligence and robotics.  These newly made people exhibit an odd interest in the goings-on of the former United States.

To-date, my chronicling of this interest of theirs has led to stories that populate five novels, which I would like to share with everyone now!

The Fourth Law - In the near future, 23-year-old apprentice nurse Lily Barrett lives in a shattered time.  Following its economic collapse, the US has devolved into a group of a few barely functional smaller states and vast swathes of barbarian badlands.  His sister has been missing for years, and her father, after earning the opprobrium of most of the world for running a state terror organization, presumed dead.

Two things keep her going: her live-in job at a small, Catholic orphanage in the city of Waxahachie, Republic of Texas, and Ai, her odd but dear friend, whom she met online; a young woman who only shows herself to Lily as a rendered CG image.

Troubled by her past, haunted by her name, and facing an uncertain future, Lily seems only a quiet, simple life.  But, that past and her present conspire against her.

Echoes of Family Lost - Alive!  After four years believing her older sister lost and presumed dead in the horrible Breakup of the United States, Lily Barrett gets word from her dear friend, Ai – and Ai’s family of Machine Civilization – that Callie Barrett is very likely alive… but over 900 miles away in Knoxville.

Using the resources of her and Ai’s family, Lily puts together a search party to go find Callie:  old, broken, and burnt Orloff – an expert in surviving in the Badlands, Ai’s little sister, Fausta – her machine mind controlling a Combat Android to protect her friend, all together in a cart pulled by their sturdy pony, Clyde.

It’s almost a thousand miles to go, with something very odd trying to limit their ability to communicate over distance and even to cross bridges.  A chance meeting along the way in Huntsville, former Alabama, wrecks their plans, and puts all of their lives in danger.

Cursed Hearts - Even with San Diego occupied by the Mexican Army, Katarina Sosabowski pursues her MBA at UCSD, and is happy to welcome and put up her visiting step-cousin from Japan, Christopher Dennou, for a night so he can complete his enrollment the following day.

But a minor earthquake brings a major surprise:  Chris’s younger sister, Maya, murders their mother and escapes Neuroi Institute, the research facility that created them.

While Chris and ‘Cat’ grow closer to one another, Maya inexorably crosses an ocean and half a continent to take back her brother, killing anyone who gets in her way.

Friend and Ally - Model 5 is a prototype designed to fit seemlessly into human society.  A meeting in Tokyo derails Nichole’s planned training as she is dispatched to Portland, former Oregon; the last working deep water port on the West Coast of the imploding US.

There, under her cover as a Graduate Engineering Student, she is to do her utmost to nurture the people and politics of the City-State into a Friend and Ally of the Japanese Empire.  But from the first day in her new home, all of Nichole’s plans go awry.

Beset by those who want this small lamp of Western Civilization snuffed out, Nichole must find within herself the courage and ability to protect her new friends, at whatever consequence to herself.

Foes and Rivals - After residing nearly a year in Portland, Nichole’s life seems to finally settle down: with her classes, friends, and lover.  But troubling rumors about secret deals between the City’s master and the savage horsemen to the east reach her ears.

With her own skills augmented by her friends and allies, she sets plans into motion she hopes will thwart those in opposition to her dream of a peaceful future.

Once again denied a quiet, normal life, Nichole is faced to make hard, dangerous choices that will jeopardize her, her friends, and the survival of the City itself.

Excerpt from The Fourth Law:





“LILY!  You’re not a wolf!  Wake up!”

She groggily sat up from her bed.  Huh?

“It’s three in the morning... you need to help your kids!”  Ai shouted at her from her phone.

The kids!

She flung the cover aside and pushed her glasses onto her face.  Now she could hear the siren.  What was it this time?  Tornado, airstrike, barbarians... the last was almost a year ago when they lost Texarkana.  Wait.  She shook her head to try to wake up.  This time, she’d an unimpeachable information source.

“Ai.  Status.” She said into the darkness.

“A fission weapon was detonated outside San Francisco about ten minutes ago; the weather pattern indicates fallout will travel north of you, into parts of former Kansas and Oklahoma.  But, winds do change...”

“Right.” She started pulling her clothes on.  “Wake up the Fitzhughs; I’ll be there in a minute.”

She walked from her bedroom through her main room, glancing at the monitors.  She suddenly bit hard on her lower lip.  On the monitors, Ai stood at attention in a Texas Field Forces uniform.  For some unknown reason, she forgot to render her pants.  Striped green and white panties?  Lily worried about her friend sometimes.

Clayton, thanks so much for stopping by. How did you get started writing?
I’ve beaten this into the ground on other stops, so please allow me to take the question at a tangent:  my early to mid-teen years as a Dungeon Master for AD&D laid the foundation of keeping a complex plot in my head while reacting to outside actions that would later bear a rich harvest when I finally began to write stories.

What was the inspiration for your books?
Tangent, again:  when the idiots of the MSM prattle on about “AI,” they don’t know what the hell they are talking about.  We’ve not achieved AI yet; what we have are a few robust expert systems with solid heuristics.  My novels aside, I think that the creation of a true AI will, like most great discoveries, be an accident.  I also think we will not know it, nor be able to understand them even if we did.

I touch on this toward the end of my first novel, “The Fourth Law.”  A human, chemical-based brain moves information around at, basically, the speed of sound.  A machine will think just below lightspeed; before you reach for your calculators, that’s about a ratio of one million to one.  Do you really, think we will understand a life that thinks one million times faster than we do?  I don’t.

What’s a genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I tried, years ago, to write a politics/crime/espionage novel… it became both confusing and hard work very quickly.  It concerns a part of Machine Civilization I’ve only mentioned:  the Breakup of the US and the formation of the Republic of Texas, so I would like to return to it someday.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
From my one foray into Wattpad, there is an astonishing amount of degenerate filth out there.  I’m not being some Gen X prude – read the sex scenes in “Cursed Hearts” after all – but sometimes it seems pop culture is nothing more than a race as to who can not just get into Hell, but make it into the lowest level possible.

Do two of my books have people who are having sex outside of marriage?  Yepper.  Am I going to Confession for that and taking those parts out?  Nope.

But, neither am I indulging in what I shall politely refer to as contributing to the death of Western Civilization.  WestCiv, the best thing ever, rests upon pedestals such as the family, rule of law, and Christianity.  Start knocking those out and you end up with what Robert Heinlein charitably referred to as “bad luck”:  barbarism.

That’s not a future I want for my two daughters.  Politics is downstream of culture and I am doing what I can to improve the health of our culture.

What are you up to now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
“Worlds Without End”… in which, pace the previous rant, finally has a couple get married before banging.  There’s a short story I wrote that I adore, set in a kind of Purgatory, with a character from “Cursed Hearts” and another from Nichole 5’s saga, but as it’s set in another’s sandbox, so to speak, I don’t know enough about international copyrights to proceed with it or not.

Alright, now for some random, fun questions. Favorite color?

Favorite movie?
Far and away, that would be “The Lion in Winter.”  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched all or part of it!  Some of the lines even ended up in my books!

“What family doesn’t have its ups and downs…?”

Book that inspired you to become an author?
There were not any.  It was instead a ten-year diet of anime and manga that inspired me to be a story teller!

You have one superpower. What is it?
“Unlimited Liver Repair Works!”  From the Hemmingway maxim of “write drunk; edit sober,” it seems I’m killing myself.  Really.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Jesus, obviously… at least we know we won’t run out of wine!  Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Rome’s first real dictator and long a role model of mine.  For the third… hmmm… no one immediately comes to mind.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
I’ve directly addressed this one another tour stop, so allow me to modify the question:  “which of my main or secondary characters…”

If that’s the criterion, then I’d say Leslie Hartmann of “Echoes of Family Lost.”  A dedicated family man who had his life twice yanked out from under him, changes careers several times and ends up with a non-White wife while trying to better the world as best he can.  I can check all of those boxes.

That’s all from me, thanks for taking the time to stop by!

My pleasure… thank you for putting up with me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
One time engineer, some time pharmacy technician, full time husband and father, Clayton Barnett stumbled into writing a traditional novel November 2014 during National Novel Writing Month.  Liking the results, he edited what would become “The Fourth Law” and set about teaching himself self-publishing.  In the following four years he has produced four more novels as well as a children’s early reader, all in what is now called Machine Civilization. 

Clayton Barnett lives in central Ohio with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.

Buy Links
Amazon    |    Smashwords


  1. Morning! Thanks for putting up with me today!

  2. Congratulations on the book tour and thank you so much for sharing your interview and offering a giveaway! I;m a huge fan of dystopian stories and this sounds like an awesome series.

    1. Thank you and good luck on the giveaway. I hope you enjoy my stories as well!

  3. How long did it take to write your book? I hope the book is a success. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. I am enjoying these tours and finding all the terrific books my family is enjoying reading. Thanks for bringing them to us and keep up the good work.

  5. I like the colors in the cover, thanks for the chance.